Decisioneering produces Crystal Ball simulation software for risk analysis and forecasting. Its customer base consists of people who use spreadsheets and is not restricted by industry or profession. Because the Crystal Ball product is beneficial to almost anyone, the target market is diverse. Decisioneering had tried banner advertising targeted at business and finance sites, but only received a response rate of 1-5 percent and an equal conversion rate. The company wanted to try something different to attract potential clients and new markets and decided to send out targeted direct e-mail to members of opt-in e-mail lists.
Decisioneering choose to run three separate campaigns with three different companies. From the three test campaigns, Decisioneering had a 1-7 percent response rate with a 25-35 percent conversion rate. The number of visitors was nearly the same as the number the company had attracted with banner ads, but the visitors were of a higher quality and had a higher conversion rate. Because it used an opt-in e-mail list, Decisioneering avoided being mistaken as a spammer and was able to target markets that were interested in its offers. It paid about $0.05-0.25 per name and received almost immediate results. Decisioneering continues to market to new audiences using opt-in e- mail lists. The company has noticed that sales leads continue to trickle in a month after a direct e-mail campaign has ended and roughly 90 percent of visitors from opt in e-mail lists that convert to sales leads also sign up for the company’s e-mail newsletter. Decisioneering learned several lessons from its continued e-mail marketing efforts:
- Use a reputable service to obtain a list of names. Ask for references and be sure that the list has been generated on an opt-in basis.
- Know whether you are dealing with a list owner (i.e., someone who will sell you a list of names) or a list broker who contracts out to use several lists and who might sell you the same names twice, or sell the list to someone else. In short, know where your list came from and who has access to the same list.
- Avoid using generalized lists. Make sure your list is targeted to one audience that fits your market profile — and know your audience.
- Keep track of where your visitors have come from and their behavior once they reach your site. Consider creating a specific URL for each list or campaign you launch.
- Don’t rely totally on e-mail marketing. The bulk of direct e- mail responses will come in the first 24 hours — make sure you have other marketing strategies running at the same time to continue to promote your site and product/service.
- Test the capacity of your Web site before you launch any direct e-mail campaign — make sure your Web site and server can handle a significant increase in traffic.